Though the U.S. spends more money on maternal health care than any other country, it's statistically safer to give birth in Cuba, Estonia, and over 40 other nations worldwide. Part of our problem is the fact that nearly one out of every three babies (twice as high as recommended by the World Health Organization) is born by Caesarean section, a leading cause of complications and death in childbirth.
Since its inception in 2008, the nonprofit Better Beginnings for Babies has worked to debunk this trend of pathologizing birth. Led by veteran midwife Rosanne Gephart, who runs the Women's Health and Birth Center in Santa Rosa, Better Beginnings promotes the idea of "faith and trust that, for most women, pregnancy and birth are normal." The nonprofit provides emergency doula services to laboring mothers, educates people about birth options and breastfeeding, and helps to fund the lactation clinic, open to all mothers in the community, at the Birth Center.
"Trust the wisdom of your body," Gephart often told me while pregnant, "it knows what to do."
This weekend, the community is invited to support Better Beginings' endeavors at an annual benefit. The event includes dinner, a silent auction, an Easter egg hunt for the kids, and a keynote address by filmmaker David Stark, creator of the popular BabyBabyOhBaby films. The event gets underway on Saturday, March 30, at the Sebastopol Masonic Center. 5pm. $14–$16. 707.539.1544. —Jessica Dur Taylor